Nucleosynthesis reactions

The deuteron is the nucleus of deuterium, which is the heavy form of hydrogen H2. The quark soup had cooled to an ionised plasma of photons, electrons, positrons, neutrinos, protons and neutrons. The reaction that preserves the neutrons is deuteron formation.

Big Bang Nucleosynthesis

The half-life of the neutron is seconds. The reactions at right also produce helium and usually go faster since they do not involve the relatively slow process of photon emission. This can then form oxygen, neon, and heavier elements via the alpha process.

Stellar nucleosynthesis

That fusion process essentially shut down at about 20 minutes, due to drops in temperature and density as the universe continued to Nucleosynthesis reactions. The explosive type is the reaction that makes a supernova or nova happens.

Elements beyond iron are made in large stars with slow neutron capture s-processfollowed by expulsion to space in gas ejections see planetary nebulae. Ninety percent of all stars, with the exception of white dwarfsare fusing hydrogen by these two processes.

This thermal energy associated with recombination is origin of the cosmic background radiation. Star formation has occurred Nucleosynthesis reactions in galaxies since that time. As a main sequence star ages, the core temperature will rise, resulting in a steadily increasing contribution from its CNO cycle.

These reactions can be photoreactions as shown here. The small, dense white dwarf pulls the surface layers from the companion star until enough mass builds so that a runaway thermonuclear incineration occurs on the surface of the white dwarf which explosively disassembles See Handbook of Isotopes in the Cosmos for more data and discussion of abundances of the isotopes.

These are known as the s- and r-processes, referring to slow and rapid neutron capture. These elements have the highest binding energy per nucleon of any other elements that are formed, and lie at the peak of this plot. For large stars, moving inwards, from here: Those abundances, when plotted on a graph as a function of atomic number, have a jagged sawtooth structure that varies by factors up to ten million.

It seems like we really understand the physical processes which went on in the first few minutes of the evolution of the Universe!

In nuclear chemistry terms, deuterium nuclei, 2H, are very reactive. Most lithium and beryllium is produced by cosmic ray collisions breaking up some of the carbon produced in stars. Species of the same element, or isotopes, in addition, differ from each other in mass or on the basis of the number of neutrons neutral fundamental particles in their nuclei.

The period of baryionic matter formation: Furthermore, one value of this baryon density can explain all the abundances at once. Chemical elements differ from one another on the basis of the number of protons fundamental particles that bear a positive charge in the atomic nuclei of each. Stellar Nucleosynthesis This would be the end of the story, except that the rapidly expanding universe had a built in brake — gravity, the great sculptor — which operated both globally and locally.


This appears to have been confirmed in the second LIGO observation of mid, which was also observed by optical telescopes. Cameronand Donald D. Further support comes from the consistency of the other light element abundances for one particular baryon density and an independent measurement of the baryon density from the anisotropies in the cosmic microwave background radiation.

Helium fusion first begins when a star leaves the red giant branch after accumulating sufficient helium in its core to ignite it.

Stellar Nucleosynthesis

In this way, the alpha process preferentially produces elements with even numbers of protons by the capture of helium nuclei.

These conditions have a massive flux of free neutrons and the various nuclei are able absorb one or more of these neutrons, undergo beta decay, absorb another neutron or neutrons, another beta decay It is also called "hydrogen burning", which should not be confused with the chemical combustion of hydrogen in an oxidizing atmosphere.

The major types of nucleosynthesis[ edit ] Big Bang nucleosynthesis[ edit ] Main article: The fragments of these cosmic-ray collisions include the light elements Li, Be and B. Main sequence stars like our Sun burn out and become cold white dwarves.According to the Big Bang theory, the early universe was hot enough to allow the nucleosynthesis of hydrogen, helium, and small amounts of lithium and beryllium.

Deuterium, a common isotope of hydrogen, was also important as a reactant in many of the reactions required to form helium. The atoms in your body – apart from the hydrogen – were all made in stars by stellar nucleosynthesis.

Stars on the main sequence get the energy they shine by from nuclear reactions. Big Bang Nucleosynthesis evolved; let’s call Γ reaction rate for a given particle interaction.


If that reaction rate is much higher than the expansion rate H, then the involved interaction can maintain those particles in. In physical cosmology, Big Bang nucleosynthesis (or primordial nucleosynthesis) refers to the production of nuclei other than H-1, the normal, light hydrogen, during the.

By the time the universe was three minutes old the process had basically stopped and the relative abundances of the elements was fixed at ratios that didn't change for a very long time: 75% hydrogen, 25% helium, with trace amounts of deuterium (hydrogen-2), helium-3, and lithium Big Bang nucleosynthesis produced no elements heavier than lithium.

The nucleosynthesis reactions discussed on this page can be found in The Chemical Thesaurus. Read more on Dave Trapp's page, here. The main reference for this page: Intro to Modern Astrophysics by Carroll & Ostlie, Addison-Wesley () as .

Nucleosynthesis reactions
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